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Grassroots Success: PTO plants trees at Mamie Towles Elementary School

07 July, 2023

While advocating for personal sun safety and sunscreen use has been a core of NCC’s Sun Smart Schools program, we’ve also encouraged environmental changes to increase access to shade. This includes planting more trees.

Earlier this year we were thrilled to learn that parents at one northern Nevada school had launched their own tree planting campaign, a grassroots effort we’d like to spotlight.

Mamie Towles Elementary School is in northwest Reno and at the beginning of the school year one parent, during a PTO meeting, pondered why there were no trees – absolutely zero – on the school’s playgrounds. This was the catalyst for months of emails, meetings, planning and coordination efforts that culminated in 30 new trees for the students.

Mom Megan Dettenmaier spearheaded the project and brought together nearly 70 volunteers and dozens of sponsors to execute the endeavor on June 24. It included numerous approvals through the school and district, installation of irrigation and borders, and the purchase and donation of trees.

We’d love to see more schools creating shade on their playgrounds, both for the sun safety impacts but also ecological benefits. The Mamie Towles project was such a success, we spoke with Dettenmaier to get tips on how other parents can spearhead similar projects, either for tree planting or installation of shade structures.

Download our tip sheet here.

And, check out these photos and video from the June 24 tree planting event. All photos courtesy Megan Dettenmaier. 

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